Managing grief as an estate executor


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/09/2022 (260 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It was just over a year ago that I found myself acting as executor of my uncle’s estate. Although the required paperwork could be tedious and stressful at times, dealing with my uncle’s home and its contents proved to be the most difficult part of the process for me.

My grandparents had previously lived in the home, as had I, and my family’s home had been a part of my life as far back as I could remember. My family disposed of very little over the years. As I sorted through household items and personal belongings, I was grieving the loss of my uncle and in some ways, my grandparents, all over again.

With so many memories attached to items in the home, I found the task of deciding what to keep very difficult. Although my family had wanted to complete the process in a timely manner, I needed to give myself extra time to make such decisions and allow myself the option of changing my mind. I knew that once an item had either been donated or sold, there was no getting it back.

<p>Being executor of an estate involves a lot of paperwork but it can also bring on feelings of grief and loss.</p>

Being executor of an estate involves a lot of paperwork but it can also bring on feelings of grief and loss.

Although there were times that I did not always accomplish everything that I had planned to do, I gave myself permission to stop. Other days, I found switching tasks helpful when I was no longer able to concentrate on what I was doing.

Throughout the process, I felt the need to justify how I was feeling. The tears were visible to everyone but the reasons were often different. Although I wanted to express my feelings, I needed to be sensitive to the fact others were also grieving.

Being organized as an executor is important and can help ensure that all required tasks are completed. Remember, though, that it is OK to

ask for help and to delegate certain tasks to someone you trust. You should also give yourself permission to take a day off from your duties.

In addition to sadness, those grieving the loss of a loved one can experience anger and guilt, too. Just remember that this is normal.

Grief can be immobilizing, so it is important, for your own emotional health, to allow yourself time to process the loss. Unresolved grief can manifest itself as difficulty eating or sleeping, irritability and can cause people to feel dazed and confused.

I hope that my experience may be helpful to others who find themselves taking on such a role and for those assisting family or friends with this process.

Cindy Murdoch

Cindy Murdoch
Transcona community correspondent

Cindy Murdoch is a community correspondent for Transcona. She can be contacted at

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